After considering a midseason return to the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers or the Clippers, veteran guard Darren Collison has decided to remain retired, league sources told ESPN.
With Collison no longer entering the marketplace, the Lakers and Clippers are looking elsewhere for guard help now.
The Lakers are expected to have an exploratory conversation with Dion Waiters in the near future, league sources said. Lakers president and GM Rob Pelinka previously represented Waiters as a player-agent.
The Lakers are canvassing the league for a playmaking guard and considering several possibilities, which include waiting to see who else might become available in the buyout marketplace. As the Lakers had with free agent Dwight Howard, there needs to be a feeling-out process on Waiters’ state of mind after the tumultuous ending to his Miami Heat career, the sources said.
Waiters was waived Sunday in Memphis, where he landed as part of the Andre Iguodala trade. Waiters is represented by Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, which represents LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
Collison had been weighing a February or March comeback with one of the two championship contenders in Los Angeles, but he informed teams on Sunday that he isn’t ready to return to the NBA — and it’s unclear if or when he will, league sources said.
The Lakers hosted Collison at a recent game courtside with owner Jeanie Buss, and he had become central in an aggressive recruiting battle between the two L.A. teams.
The Lakers and Clippers each hoped Collison could become a secondary ball handler and 3-point shooter for their bench.
Collison, 32, exited the league abruptly in late June, despite the expectation that he would attract multiple contract offers in the neighborhood of $10 million-plus per season.
In an interview with The Undefeated and ESPN’s Marc J. Spears on June 28, Collison cited religious reasons for retiring.
“While I still love basketball, I know there is something more important, which is my family and my faith,” Collison said. “I am one of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and my faith means everything to me.
“I receive so much joy from volunteering to help others and participate in a worldwide ministry. The joy I feel is unmatched.”
Collison averaged 11 points and six assists with the Indiana Pacers last season. He became a progressively better 3-point shooter in his career, shooting a career-best 47% during the 2017-18 season with the Pacers.
Collison also had stops with the Clippers, New Orleans Pelicans, Sacramento Kings and Dallas Mavericks.
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst contributed to this report.